European Reliance on Science to Provide Objective Validation

With the rise of individualism and the challenges made to conventional organisation of society, as well as religious and economic dogma of the time, Europe was confronted with the need to establish some kind of independent, non-subjective approach to validating the individual insights that arose during the process.  It was at this point that Science promised to provide independent, verifiable and reproducible results and thus, it became a centerpiece of an approach to validation that captivated the mind of Europe for the last several centuries.

Sri Aurobindo observes:  “Science seemed to it to fulfil impeccably its search for the two supreme desiderata of an individualistic age.  Here at last was a truth of things which depended on no doubtful Scripture or fallible human authority but which Mother Nature herself had written in her eternal book for all to read who had patience to observe and intellectual honesty to judge.  Here were laws, principles, fundamental facts of the world and of our being which all could verify at once for themselves and which must therefore satisfy and guide the free individual judgment, delivering it equally from alien compulsion and from erratic self-will.  Here were laws and truths which justified and yet controlled the claims and desires of the individual human being; here a science which provided a standard, a norm of knowledge, a rational basis for life, a clear outline and sovereign means for the progress and perfection of the individual and the race.  The attempt to govern and organise human life by verifiable Science, by a law, a truth of things, an order and principles which all can observe and verify in their ground and fact and to which therefore all may freely and must rationally subscribe, is the culminating movement of European civilisation.  It has been the fulfilment and triumph of the individualistic age of human society; it has seemed likely also to be its end, the cause of the death of individualism and its putting away and burial among the monuments of the past.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development, Chapter 2, the Age of Individualism and Reason, pp. 20-21